#KSDempowers October 2019

Monthly Update from Kuna Superintendent Wendy Johnson

In this newsletter:

  • Learning from business research: Focusing on happiness, gratitude, optimism fuels success
  • KSD Reads! The learning journey starts
  • Check what's on your ballot this fall!
  • Kuna School Board advocates for school impact fees
  • Check what's on your ballot Nov. 5
  • Kuna Way Awards!
  • Important dates
Happiness = Performance: THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE by Shawn Achor

Learning from business research: Focusing on happiness, gratitude, optimism fuels success

“Constantly scanning the world for the negative comes with a great cost. It undercuts our creativity, raises our stress levels, and lowers our motivation and ability to accomplish goals. ... When our brains constantly scan for and focus on the positive, we profit from three of the most important tools available to us: happiness, gratitude, and optimism. "

-- Shawn Anchor, author the Happiness Advantage.


It is hard to believe that we're through the first quarter of the school year, parent conferences are wrapping up and that fall sports are into playoffs (Go Kavemen!), and the countdown to Thanksgiving break is starting for students and staff.


As part of our "KSDempowers" focus this year, I am planning to share with the administrative team some of the research about the power of purposeful work around -- Happiness.


In this video overview of Shawn Achor's: The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, Achor makes a compelling case for people to harness lessons from positive psychology to improve performance and lives.


He offers practical activities that anyone can do to build happiness. One I'm trying is a daily gratitude journal and I want to share some recent journal entries with you.


I chose some that make me especially grateful for as a Superintendent. Some times as we look at the challenges facing our families and our students, it can seem overwhelming and unchangeable. But when I look back, I can see that when good-hearted folks step and say "I can help," good things happen. The most recent experience happened last Friday night when our community came together to help our KHS football player and his mom by raising $5,000 for her battle against cancer.


In the photo gallery below, I'm sharing three recent events that I am grateful for:


  • The first is the photo of a chilly but happy group volunteers from the Kuna Get Ready to Learn Collaborative at the Linder Farms on Saturday, Oct. 26. I remember three years ago, a group of community folks gathering to ask "What we can do together to ensure more children arrived at kindergarten ready to benefit." This band of volunteers is making a difference and if you click the photo you can watch a news report on the exciting next steps to expand access to high quality preschool in our community.
  • The center photo is from the recent Kuna Boys and Girls Club fund raising breakfast. I remember more than a decade ago, a group of community folks gathering to ask can we together create a after school safe place for Kuna youth. Folks worked hard and we were able to create a Boys and Girls Club at Ross Elementary School. At the event, Seona Bobo, a soon-to-be Initial Point graduate shared her gratitude for the Club and Kuna schools after school programs and the positive influence on their lives.
  • The other photo is the symbol for "Purposity." Last spring, our team asked if we could join other Idaho districts in a community-based giving program called Purposity. The easy-to-use app connects those who want to help students in need with a list needs vetted by our counselors and social workers. For a district to be able to use the app at least 500 people must download the app. We hit the mark this month! I'm grateful for all those who signed up!
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KSD Reads! The learning journey starts

This year, I invited district staff to your me in our first KSD Reads. I was thrilled with the turnout for our first study session of "Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning." I'm looking forward to continue to me and learn with these committed educators.

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Kuna School Board advocates for school impact fees

Next week, several of our Kuna School District trustees will participate in the annual Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA) Conference. This year, our Board is asking all the other school boards in the state to support a resolution for legislation to allow school districts to assess impact fees on new construction. The fees would generate funds to support the district as we serve more students in our fast developing community. We have the support of city leadership and other districts as well. Often we hear a complaint from patrons that we don't assess fees as it stands now, we can't. I appreciate the Board's leadership on advancing this effort. Read the Board's resolution here and a story on the effort here.
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Check what's on your ballot Nov. 5

This year is the first time school board races are on a November ballot in Idaho, shifting from May.


In Kuna, the three trustees up for election were unopposed so by Idaho law the Board was able to declare them elected.


Trustees continuing for another four-year term are Zone 1: Joy Thomas, vice chairman; Zone 2: JD Grant, chairman, and Zone 5: Russ Johnson. The next school board election will be in November 2021 for Zones 3 and 4.


Kuna School District does not have a bond or levy on the ballot, but there are important decisions on city elections and other items depending on where you live.


Here are links to local county elections so you can learn what's on your ballot this fall! Early voting is available from through Nov. 1. Election Day is Nov. 5.



October Kuna Way Awards!

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Important Dates & Events

Important Dates & Events

November 1 - No School: Teacher In-service

November 15 - K-5 End of Trimester 1

November 25-29 - No School: Thanksgiving Break

Superintendent Wendy Johnson

I am a superintendent of an amazing school district in Kuna, Idaho. I love serving children, teachers and families and having an impact on the future. #ksdempower #futureready